“The Act of Killing” wins best doc at the BAFTAs

The Act of Killing, from director Joshua Oppenheimer (pictured), won Best Documentary at the 2014 BAFTA Film Awards, while Stefan Haupt's docudrama The Circle won an audience award and a Teddy Award at the Berlinale.
February 18, 2014

The Act of Killing won the Best Documentary prize at the 2014 BAFTA Film Awards.

Director Joshua Oppenheimer (pictured) accepted the award during a ceremony in London on Sunday (February 16) and dedicated it to his anonymous Indonesian crew and co-director, who cannot reveal their identities for fear of reprisals.

The film, which is nominated for an Oscar this year, follows a group of former death squad leaders in Indonesia as they produce and star in a fantasy film based on the 1965-66 mass murder of around one million suspected Communists.

The Act of Killing is helping to catalyze a change in how Indonesia talks about its past,” Oppenheimer said during his acceptance speech. “The media and the public are finally talking about the moral catastrophe of the genocide in 1965 without fear, and they’re debating without fear the connections between that genocide and the moral catastrophe of the present day regime that the killers have built and continue to preside over.”

The Armstrong Lie, Blackfish, Tim’s Vermeer and We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks were also up for the award.

Meanwhile, Swiss director Stefan Haupt’s The Circle won the documentary audience award at the Berlin International Film Festival, which wrapped up last week.

The film, which screened in the festival’s Panorama program, is a docudrama about the origins of Europe’s first gay rights organization. John Maloof & Charlie Siskel’s Finding Vivian Maier and Tamara Trampe and Johann Feindt’s My Mother, A War and Me were the runners up.

The Circle also won best documentary at the Teddy Awards, which honor LGBT-related films playing at the festival.

The awards were handed out on Thursday (February 15).

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Jillian Morgan is the Associate Editor at Realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.